Autumn already?

Pensioner On Motorway There must have been previous signs of the onset of senility and old age. Thinking about it the posts on Forgetful, about tactics to explain away forgetfulness in Did I Just Miss July?, and the strange interest in face furniture in In Praise of Interesting Facial Hair all seem to have a certain pension book status.

When you catch me weighing up the differing merits of various mobility scooters please take me out and shoot me. Not that I dislike them, I’m sure they give wonderful independence to those who might otherwise be stuck at home all day. I’m just worried I’ll end up like this pensioner who, having popped out to buy his daily newspaper, took a wrong turning and found himself on the motorway crawling along at 8 miles per hour. With me it would be everyone else’s fault.

What’s brought about this musing on old age? Well, I retired from work on Tuesday. Effectively I’ve entered the autumn period of my life… childhood being spring, early adulthood being summer, late adulthood being autumn and finally old age being winter. So I should be enjoying the fruits of my labour, having raised a family and worked non stop for over forty years. Don’t get me wrong, I’m lucky enough financially to retire at 59 yrs and able to enjoy the fascination of seeing my children as adults with all the interest in their activities that brings, and with the bonus of four grandchildren whose company I really enjoy and who are endlessly amazing. But did pensioner status have to come on so quickly?

I’d resolved some time ago on my first day of retirement to go on a really long country walk… from Paxton Pits up along The Ouse to Buckden Marina and then back across country, in the process taking pictures to add the walk to one of my other blogs, Cambridgeshire Walks. It’s about eight miles and three or more hours walk. Even had a practice on a very frosty  December morning by doing the Kings Ripton circular walk. So how come I found myself instead spitting feathers at Tesco Barhill?

The sunshine I’d ordered was out of stock and with wall to wall grey thought I’d go and have a look at the new Apple iPad2 to reassess my previous post on  Why I Won't Be Buying An Apple iPad... Yet. I’d emailed Tesco over the previous weekend to check when they’d have the item on display so I could have a fiddle… rather helpfully the previous model had been displayed including internet access so customers could have a good try. And the helpfulness theme continued when Tesco promptly left a voicemail message saying the iPad would be in stock on Wednesday 30-March.

Might be in stock, but will they have it out on display? I know, I’ll give the store a call and ask them! Four calls over a two hour period and I was no nearer an answer… couldn’t get me through to the electrical department, must be busy with customers (before 10:00 on a Wednesday???). Didn’t totally waste the time, got a fresh forty pint batch of home brew beer going.

Took a chance and drove the six miles to the store… to find the two staff in the electrical department having a chat some distance away from the service desk. Of course! No wonder they couldn’t answer the ‘phone, much more interesting things to do! And when they uttered the words ‘no, the iPad stock hasn’t arrived and we don’t know when it will’ I had to turn away from them quickly since words were spilling from my lips I wouldn’t want my children to hear. Noticed a security guard appeared shortly afterwards… hope it wasn’t to do with me!

So I’ve banged off an complaint email to Tesco (update… they responded offering a £5 money card to compensate for the wasted journey)… but see what I mean? Just reading what I’ve written above and the fact I now seem to have got into a routine of writing complaint emails shows definite Victor Meldrew tendencies.

And don’t ask me what day of the week of the week it is. It’s Wednesday, right? Thursday? Are you sure? What happened to Wednesday. For that matter what happened to last week???

Had a wonderful send off from all my workmates at the Call Centre and a lovely lunch with the managers and team leaders sitting out on the patio at The Dolphin Hotel. Great fun seeing the chocoholic frenzy as advisors searched for the treasure I’d hidden around the Call Centre room on the previous Saturday… here they are below desperately seeking a chocolate aero bar hidden under the desk.

Call Centre treasure hunt

My manager Michelle gave a nice speech part of which was reminiscing on my various faux pas over the previous six years. Here’s a little note she Handbrake warning from Michellegave me as a reminder against repeating the car handbrake incident described in Forgetful.

Got gifts of whisky and garden gift vouchers. Apparently the word had gone out via daughter Beth (who used to work at the Call Centre) to my wife asking what I might like… answer, an incinerator! Incinerator??? That more reflects Linda’s dislike of my passion for lighting fires. Comes from childhood when I’d arrive home to the immortal words from my mum ‘Come here and let me smell if you’ve been lighting fires again!’… closely followed by the words ‘Get up those stairs to bed’.

And because I have an urge to record everything for posterity, here’s what I replied to Michelle’s speech with…

I’ve been pretty relaxed over the weeks since I knew I was going to retire but must admit to getting a little wobbly as the day’s approached. I feel I should be completing a holiday request form, late as usual,  for Michelle to sign… start date tomorrow, end date blank. But I have been preparing for this date by reducing my working days from three down to two days a week. I’m grateful to Michelle for allowing me to do that.

I’ve got to warn you I might go a bit emotional on the next bit and shed a tear. You probably think that on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays I’m off enjoying myself. I’ve actually been spending hours sitting by the telephone waiting, nay, willing it to ring and to hear those magic words on the other end of the line

‘Hi John, it’s Ced. Can you help me with a problem on a spreadsheet?’

And how many times has Ced had to call? Not once! He’s more likely to call and ask what the weather was like yesterday. But it does make it easier to shuffle off into retirement knowing there’s someone so capable to take my place. Best of luck Ced!

I’ve worked without a break for over forty years and this has been my most enjoyable job. And how could it not be, with such a capable and professional management team to work with, such an understanding boss in Michelle, and a unique bunch of workmates, so bright, enthusiastic and funny. If speed was measured in smiles per hour this would be the fastest workplace in history.

Many thanks for the gifts. I hope I get an invite to the summer barbeque and whenever you’re short of a player for rounders.

I am going to miss them all greatly ~:0(

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:07 pm

    Hi Uncle John, it's Sophie! :-) Just testing to see if its working!


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